Dear Alliance Community,
During this intensely difficult time, each of us is burdened with worry about our neighbors, our families, and ourselves. We also have additional concerns and/or responsibilities for the babies, young children, caregivers and families that we serve, in addition to the service providers that we support.
We have received questions about how to best maintain relationship-based serviceswith the familieswe support during this time. It is the sense of connectedness that feels most important to preserve. This can be offered by text, phone or a virtual platform. Theopportunity for parents and caregiversto talk with someone who will truly listen and offer unconditional, positive regard is what will be most important. And of course, these parents and caregivers will need to beasked about the baby/young children in their careand the opportunity towonder together about how the changes in routine, increased levels of household anxiety, worries about instability, declining parental patience, etc. may be affecting all of them. The parents and caregivers will benefit fromreceivingsome anticipatory guidance about changes/behaviors they might notice in their little ones and have that behavior put into context. It will be critical for parents and caregivers tohave their feelings normalized, to have a problem solving partner who can connect them with resources and to be reminded that they are not alone in this. Brené Brown reminds us that, "Connection is why we're here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives." YOU can be the connection for the babies, young children and families that you serve.
To that same end, the service providers you support will also need connection. This can also be done by text, phone or a virtual platform. You can offer them the opportunity to talk and share freely. You can validate their feelings and remind them that there are no right or wrong feelings in times like these. You can explore with them what helps them to feel safe and secure. Is it finding comfort in a book, a walk outside, meditation, journaling, calling a loved one, etc.? You can remind them that their own self care is critically important. They cannot pour from an empty cup. The parents and caregivers they serve will be looking to them for co-regulation, so that they can offer that to their young children,and we must first offer them the opportunity to co-regulate with us. Relationships matter and they are what will get us through this time.
This mayleaveyou as the person who isholding it all together. The Alliance network is large and full of infant-early childhood mental health professionals and experts. If you find yourself needing support during this time, please reach out to us and we will work hard to pair you with someone who can provide you with whatever kind of CONNECTION you are seeking - whether it be support, a listening ear or some problem solving. We are all in this together. We are the Alliance. You are the Alliance. We are all the Alliance.
Yours in partnership for babies, young children and families,